Letter: Prince William Supervisors ignored residents on Route 28 bypass

My name is Kaycee Emilienburg and I reside in Coles District in Prince William County. On Tuesday, September 8, 2020, I waited, via Zoom, in a green room prepared to offer the following remarks to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors during the citizen’s comment time.

Four hours and 29 minutes later, I was given my three minutes in the sun to speak. By then, without hearing one word from me or the many others who were on deck to speak since 2 p.m., Chair Wheeler and her Democrat colleagues had elevated betrayal to an Olympic-quality event virtually rendering moot most of our remarks.

Although my appreciation for their 8-0 vote on August 4 against the Godwin [Drive Extension/Route 28] Bypass seems ridiculous now, I offer my original remarks as the only voice of my outrage at their unprecedented manipulation of the system and an unconscionable disregard for the constituents most impacted by their reversal.

Chairman Wheeler and fellow supervisors – thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

Do you remember Jacob Marley? He, or rather his ghost, spoke these words to his business partner, Ebenezer Scrooge: “I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wear it.” Destined to wear his chains for all eternity he appears to warn Scrooge that he still has a chance and a hope of escaping the same fate.

You see, business was Jacob’s sole concern in life. What you want to bring back to the table today appears to be, primarily, a business decision. The truth is, it is more than that. And, although some of you who live in other parts of our county may believe what happens in Manassas will not affect you, both the human and environmental impact of your proposed revote will affect you no less than Marley’s chains.

I want to cite a couple of my concerns, focus on the hope found in the words of one of your members, and then encourage you.

I am concerned that the opinion of Manassas City seems to hold such sway over you. I find it curious that the jurisdiction that stands to gain the most from the Godwin Bypass has voted not to provide a cent for its construction.

I am concerned that my supervisor, Supervisor Vega, among others, has endured “immense pressure” from special interests in PWC and Northern Virginia, including the [Prince Wiliam] Chamber of Commerce to reconsider he vote of August 4 against the bypass. Two of her primary concerns were for the impact to the residents in her district as well as the significant environmental concerns the bypass would cause.

Supervisor Bailey, you voiced a concern that $89 million could be lost and you indicated that you don’t believe you and your fellow supervisors fully considered the ramifications of abandoning the bypass. I have hope that when whatever plan is finally accepted, monies will be allocated to underwrite said plan. That makes me wonder if your use of “ramification” is not simply a euphemism for $89 million.

On the other hand, you went on to say that you had 100% certainty that working with your planning and transportation departments will help you address the significant issues involved. Does that mean you will earnestly listen to men like Charlie Grymes who already has a wealth of documentation to support his advice against the bypass?

I was cheered by your further remarks, and I quote, “As leaders on that dais, we need to look beyond being fearful of making a grand decision like this and make a good, wholesome decision for the good of everyone.” I pray you mean that.

May I encourage you to take that fearlessly honest look at all of the BEST evidence. Please include updated assessments from the Army Corps of Engineers. Don’t buckle to those special interests whose “evidence” can be proven to be not only faulty but also downright deceptive. Don’t sell your soul to the highest bidder.

Years from now what we, your constituents, think of you will matter very little, to be honest. Whether we speak your names with respect and appreciation or lace our remarks with the loss and anguish you imposed upon us carry no real weight. But Someone Else, who, by the very nature of his character, cares deeply about the widows and the orphans – His opinion matters the most and His judgment lasts through all eternity. Have you asked yourself, “What would He have me do?”

And one final question: How will you forge your chains?

2 thoughts on “Letter: Prince William Supervisors ignored residents on Route 28 bypass

  1. Although insubstantial citizen information meetings (“dog and pony shows”) were held in September 2017, December 2018, and October 2019 for the Route 28 Corridor Feasibility and Environmental Studies, NO PUBLIC HEARINGS were ever held before PWC staff selected the project location (i.e., Alternative 2B).

    Moreover, no written study reports were released for public review and comment prior to, or during, those public meetings.

    This track record of sham “public involvement” is not merely insulting to those most negatively affected by the Bypass and to the general public, it will eventually result in advancing a clearly inferior and ineffective highway project and/or wasted time and taxpayer money pursuing this Bypass boondoggle.

  2. As a 50-year resident of Prince William County, I have watched greed and self-serving officials ruin this lovely county. 234 was a two lane road linking small neighborhoods. It’s now a four lane highway from 95 to 66 renamed PW Parkway lined with trash dumps, animal shelter gas chambers, car dumps, parking for acres of heavy duty work vehicles in various states of repair, schools with treacherous traffic patterns, huge firehouses and soon to be truck maintenance facility next to a high school. This is the EPITOME of stupid planning. The last Board and Planning Commission were bought and sold by developers and builders. They got wealthy as a result. This Board is still connected via Ms Horner to the false documents that reflect her bias. She changed zoning titles at will with no warning, she repeated that terminology as if it were valid in other documents, she obfuscated the origins of these documents by claiming Study Group resident input. These study groups were loaded with cronies from developers, builders, real estate agents and family members. The entire process is designed to tear down the Rural Crescent we fought so hard to preserve from the ‘80’s until now. Watching the BOCS is a guy-wrenching experience. Go to the PWC BOCS Archive and see for yourself.

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